United States now has more coronavirus cases than any other country

A mostly deserted Times Square after officials declared city wide lock down amid the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease in the Manhattan borough of New York City New York US

A mostly deserted Times Square after officials declared city wide lock down amid the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease in the Manhattan borough of New York City New York US

Social distancing appears to be slowing the spread of the coronavirus in NY, the epicenter of America's pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

President Donald Trump, who has promised to sign the bill as soon as it passes the House, expressed approval on Twitter.

Asked Wednesday what the protocol would be if NY faced a ventilator shortage due to coronavirus, Cuomo said they were expecting to have enough ventilators to treat everyone.

New York's scramble to find enough breathing machines to treat its rapidly expanding legion of coronavirus patients illustrates a problem vexing hospitals and governments worldwide.

After attributing the recent surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York state to the "density that we're dealing with" - which he argued is why the "burdensome requirement" of social distancing is effective and necessary - Cuomo said that he and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio plan to pilot closing NYC streets to help alleviate density and open the streets to pedestrians. But most of those are concentrated in the New York City area and some hospitals there are already stretched.

Watch Cuomo live via live stream from NBC.

"We do have people who have been on for quite a period of time", Cuomo said. "I don't even know that that was the best public health policy".

"I'm sure that this virus is just about everywhere", said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Even if automakers and others start producing in May or June, any ventilators they make still will save multiple lives because they can be used to help two or more people, said Dr. Jack Iwashyna, a professor of internal medicine at the University of MI.

"That is a situation where people just deteriorate over time", Cuomo said.

Kelly's sister, Marya Sherron, told the New York Post that her brother had informed her of his illness about 10 days earlier.

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During Thursday's press briefing, Cuomo said the goal is still to flatten the curve as much as possible, but at this point, there's no way to get it low enough so that hospitals will have the ability to respond properly.

The governor commended the president for utilizing the Defense Production Act as a leveraging tool to get more medical equipment and said getting 30,000 ventilators "is an extraordinarily hard task" but "it's something that our team is working on with the White House team, and I want to thank the president for his cooperation and his team for their cooperation".

Cuomo said the state wants a 1,000-plus patient overflow facility in each of the city's five boroughs along with Westchester and Rockland counties north of the city and Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island.

Breaking the orders is a misdemeanor punishable by a citation with a fine of up to $500, Beck said.

So far, 21 states have issues stay-at-home orders, with some not going into effect until the end of the week. But New York didn't prepare for a pandemic as serious as the 1918 Spanish flu, nor did the federal government or anyone "in the world", Cuomo added. Residents are asked to limit outdoor activities to non-contact activities.

Cuomo said that number is expected to rise.

But Los Angeles police will not stop people for exercising and leaving their homes, Garcetti said.

The widespread shutdown of businesses to try to control the outbreak has led to a record number of Americans filing for their first week of unemployment benefits.

That's the highest number of initial jobless claims since the Department of Labor started tracking the data in 1967.

Some Americans hope a $2 trillion stimulus bill will help, but some analysts say it's not almost enough. That was our public health strategy. And we don't have the luxury at this time of being emotional about what they [Congress] did.

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